Gallery opened 3 Sept 2021
There have been many, many unusual aircraft. This is perhaps one of the oddest.
Left: German aeroplane with extra wheels for landing inverted: 1914
In 1914 flying inverted was still a novelty. The Frenchman Adolphe Pegoud was the first to demonstrate it in September 1913. In the same month a Russian pilot named Petr Nikolaevich Nesterov performed the first complete loop.
In these early days there was a fear that once the aeroplane became inverted, it would be impossible to get it right-side-up again. In the that case the plane would have to land inverted and the pilots chances of survival were virtually nil. As a precaution this design had wheels at top and bottom, so the pilot could in theory land safely. In actuality, I imagine that landing upside-down, with every control working backwards, without any previous training, would be impossibly difficult.
Adolphe Pégoud became France's first fighter 'ace' but was shot down and killed in 1915 at the age of 26.
Source: Popular Mechanics, July 1914, p105